Combating the menace of midges

A summer in Scotland conjures up images of rugged scenery, clear streams and lush greenery. The downside is the not so romantic midgey bites which accompany any outdoors activity north of the border – to the point that it can even put people off visiting. But fear of bites should be no reason to avoid the otherwise beautiful countryside.

With this in mind, Advanced Pest Solutions (APS), a company based in Edinburgh, have done extensive research into the problem of midges. According to Dr Blackwell from APS, midges start their hunt for us using smell, detecting CO2 and a whole cocktail of other body odours – it seems that it’s the release of CO2 in our exhaled breath that guides a midge to its prey. What APS has done is combine scientific research into biting insect populations and behaviour with technology to produce solutions to minimise the impact the insects have on individuals and businesses throughout the country.

Those travelling to Scotland this summer are strongly advised to check The Scottish Midge Forecast before packing. This website offers real time analysis – a bit like the Met Office – of where the most midges are congregating with over 50 locations rated from 1-5 and proves indispensible help when planning how much insect repellent to buy.


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Once you’re at your destination, it is also possible to keep updated through the brand new Iphone application out this summer which offers the same service on the move. This way you will always be one step ahead of every outdoorsy person’s nemesis.

Obviously there are the conventional ways of beating the bugs, but there are many different theories surrounding how to keep the beasties at bay. Be warned, the methods that rely on smell may not only repel bugs, but also everyone around you. These are not advised for a camping holiday for two; you might find yourself very lonely

Top 10 Midge Repellents  

1. Lemon Balm
2. Chamomile
3. Lots of Garlic
4. Citronella
5. Eating Marmite throughout your holiday
6. Skin So Soft from Avon (used by the Marines)
7. Chain Smoking – midges hate pipe and cigarette smoke (one piece of research claims that thanks to the smoking ban we are seeing a lot more of the pests in pubs, restaurant and bars.)
8. Greek Oregano
9. Neem Oil
10. Lavender